Coaching legend found dead - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coaching legend found dead

Willie Boston in 2001 (WALB file) Willie Boston in 2001 (WALB file)
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August 3, 2006

Albany -- A well-known former high school basketball coach was found dead today.   Retired Westover Coach Willie Boston was found dead in an old boarding house in central Albany this afternoon.   Investigators don't know how the 64 year old Boston died.  

Police were called to the boarding house at 429 West Tift around noon by Shirley Newsome, who said she found her friend dead in her room.  "Willie Boston, coach Boston from Westover High School," Newsome said.

The 64-year-old Willie Boston coached the Westover Patriots basketball team for 22 years and led them to six state championships. He retired in 2001.  "That's my best friend," said Newsome. 'We been friends for years."

Newsome said Boston came over and played cards last night. She was surprised to find him sleeping on a porch this morning.

"He tried to get up his self, and that's when he fell and hit his head." George Watson said, "I asked some guys to help me tote him inside. When I got him inside I asked him again if he wanted to go to the hospital. He told me he was all right. I asked him again, and he said again 'I am all right, just let me sleep a little while, and then I can make it on home.'"

Police questioned the people in the house, then Coach Boston's body was taken out around 2:00.    

"I call him my Daddy," said Watson. "I liked him. He treat me like a son. I don't know what really happened to him." 

The news of Boston's death spread across town very quickly.  Boston was very well known and revered by the players he coached, and even the coaches he competed against for many years.

Boston played at Monroe High School, then took his first head coaching job at Westover High. In 22 years, his teams won 436 games. The Patriots had 20 consecutive winning seasons, and won six state championships.

Dallis Smith played for Coach Boston, and then was his assistant coach for eight years. He succeeded Boston as head coach at Westover. "He was my mentor, my father figure, and my friend. Anything I have ever done in the coaching arena, I owe it to him. Even from going to school at Westover. If it wasn't for him, I would not have been there."

After leaving Westover High , Boston coached in Tallahassee Florida at Godby High in 2003, then retiring from coaching.

Several of his former players went on to become teachers and coaches, continuing his legacy.

Investigators say they will not know the cause of Boston's death until an autopsy is done tomorrow.  

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=WillieBoston/JW